Review: Frozen (2013 movie)

This hugely popular computer-animated feature from Disney is said to have been inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” (and in many countries was released under a version of that title), but the plot and characters are in fact completely original. In keeping with Disney tradition, it’s a musical fairy tale about a princess, but the story plays nicely against audience expectations, and as with Tangled the heroine’s love interest is a fully developed character rather than a handsome nonentity.

The music is quite good, and “Let It Go,” is probably the first hit song in history to mention fractals. There are a few minor but irritating flaws — unnecessary plot holes and a pat solution to a major story problem — but overall I quite liked it, and most people who’ve seen it appear to agree, including countless millions of little girls.

(For a variant opinion from the Bizarro world, see my earlier post today [link] about a Fox & Friends segment weirdly attacking the movie as anti-male.)

A woman in Japan reportedly became so obsessed with Frozen that she saw it repeatedly, and when she insisted her husband watch it with her and he found it merely OK, she divorced him.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) is the crown princess of a small Nordic kingdom who must keep secret her magic powers over ice and snow. Consequently she and her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) grow up in a closed palace, separated from one another, both suffering from loneliness and isolation until Elsa’s eventual coronation leads to a crisis. I won’t say more because the story is full of surprises.

Incidentally, their kingdom is named Arendelle, pronounced essentially the same as Arundel, a town in southern England I’ve visited. I’ve no idea whether there’s a connection.

Jennifer Lee, who previously co-wrote Wreck-It Ralph (2013), was both screenwriter and co-director. Originally the director was to be Chris Buck, best known for having directed Disney’s Oscar-winning Tarzan (1999), but given Frozen’s tight production schedule and the fact that Buck and Lee got along very well, it was decided to put Buck, a long-time artist and animator, in charge of visuals and give Lee responsibility for the story side, with both of them sharing director credit (a first for a woman in Disney animation history). This appears to have proved very successful.

Lee’s artist sister Brittney also worked on the film, designing some of the architecture and what I understand were the most elaborate costumes in Disney animation history. The Lee sisters’ relationship growing up is also said to have influenced the script.

Lee’s daughter Agatha provides the singing voice for the teenaged Anna, while five-year-old Anna was voiced by Katie Lopez, daughter of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who wrote the movie’s songs.

Watching interviews with Jennifer Lee on the film’s Blu-ray extras, I became convinced I’d seen her as an actress in some film or other, but IMDb says I’m wrong. She’s certainly attractive and appealing enough to pull it off. (See her Wikipedia article.)


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Review: Frozen (2013 movie) — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: An alien explains Disney’s Frozen | D Gary Grady

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